Astral Acoustics Taurus IEM and Adapters cable review

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Astral Acoustics Taurus IEM cable and two adapters. 
2.5mm balanced to 3.5mm SE and 2.5mm balanced to 4.4mm balanced.

Product Details

Entry model: Taurus IEM Cable
8 Conductors: OCC Copper with Litz

Taurus features a large soundstage and dark backgrounds. Vocals with just the right amount of warmth and thickness, and a surprising treble extension which, you'd never thought it could be experienced from a COPPER cable at this price.

Consisting of 8 Litzed 28awg OCC copper wires and Eidolic connectors, Taurus is nowhere near what can be considered as a bulky or heavy cable. Under light, this cable glistens, making it proper eye candy WHILE still sounding just as good as it looks.

Taurus will change your view on the stereotype that copper cables have dull highs and the lack of details. Sounding thick without sacrificing layering and details on the highs is what a proper copper cable should be able to achieve.

Price: $1800 HKD

Length - 1.2m approx.
Connectors - Eidolic
Solder - Audio Note

Taurus cable with MMCX connectors and a 2.5mm balanced plug.

Astral Acoustic uses quality Eidolic connectors and plugs From Double Helix Cables.
So you know they are excellent quality.

Astral Acoustics Taurus IEM cable and Taurus 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter with Echobox Explorer X1.


The Astral Acoustic Taurus series of cables and adapters were tested with a variety of Daps and earphones and were compared with other cables to reach an semi accurate evaluation of its performance and sonic properties.

Astral Acoustics Taurus IEM cable and Taurus 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter 
with Shozy Alien+ and Campfire Audio Jupiter

The Astral Acoustics Taurus IEM cable consists of 8 Litzed 28awg OCC copper wires and Eidolic connectors.
Its length is approximately 1.2m.
The solder used is Audio Note.

Astral Acoustics Taurus IEM cable and Taurus 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter 
with Opus#3 and Campfire Audio Andromeda

The Astral Acoustic Taurus IEM cable is obviously well made and smexy to look at by examining the many photos within this article.

I unscrewed the main jack connector and the insides were clean and well soldered and sealed.

Astral Acoustics Taurus IEM cable and Taurus 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter 
with Echobox Explorer X1 and Campfire Audio Andromeda.
I loved this pairing very much.

The Astral Acoustic Taurus IEM cable is a copper cable that is focussed more in the bass to mid sections. 
The layering and imaging at times isn't as definite as a silver cable on some tracks.

When paired with a brighter source the cable seems to attain a synergy, each complementing the other.
It expands the sound scape as opposed to reducing its possibilities, the sound stage is wide, intimate and expansive.

When paired with a neutral or warm dap I found the lows to concentrate the sound more as opposed to creating a sense of the holographic, the sound stage can be medium and intimate instead of expansive.

I found the bass and lower mids to be prominent at times, and usually the vocals were forward.

I still found enough detail and top end to keep me satisfied.

At times the bass, is full and round and very pleasing on some tracks.

The Astral Acoustics Taurus series can certainly shine when matched with the right dap and earphone, the cable isn't as congested in the lower end as I have encountered with other copper cables. the Taurus has a nice shimmering top end, deep bass and warm mids with forward vocals.

Astral Acoustics Taurus IEM cable 
with iBasso DX200 and Campfire Audio Andromeda.

I found the Opus#1 on high gain to be overly bright and coherent, but on mid gain to be acceptable with more bass and mids, yet not as coherent.

The ipod touch 6G was surprisingly a good match.

More TOTL daps such as the DX200 and Opus#2 were not as a good match to my ears and general preferences, as they seemed to desire a more transparent and neutral cable. Plus the Opus#2 can already be a bit thick at times in its lower regions.

The Opus#3 was not as bright as Opus#1, even, nice and with a sense of space, placement and dynamic. With more full thick bass. It had great imaging and matched well.

The Explorer X1 was very even with great separation.

Astral Acoustics Taurus IEM cable 
with iBasso DX200 and Campfire Audio Vega.

I found the AA Taurus IEM cable when paired with a transparent adapter to match well for daps such as the iBasso DX200 and Opus#2.

Astral Acoustics Taurus IEM cable and Taurus 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter with Echobox Explorer X1.

Astral Acoustics Taurus Adapters

Astral Acoustics Taurus adapters. 
2.5mm balanced to 3.5mm SE and 2.5mm balanced to 4.4mm balanced.

The Astral Acoustics Taurus adapters consist of 8 Litzed 28awg OCC copper wires and Eidolic connectors.

The solder used is Audio Note.

*Please contact Astral Acoustics about these particular adapters,
as they are specifically made to order.

-Tested with the ALO Audio Litz and Campfire Audio Andromeda.

The adapter cables provide a tight and secure fit. 
There is a slight sonic coloration to them in the lower end and mids.

-Tested with the Taurus IEM cable Campfire Andromeda.

Not as noticeable as with the ALO Audio Litz cable. Perhaps as in this case the Taurus IEM cable is doing most of the heavy lifting. Still a little emphasis on the lower end.

The Taurus adapter cables are consistent with the general signature that often comes with copper, although not as dark as other copper cables I have tested and listened to, it retains clarity and detail. 
The Taurus presents a top end sparkle.

They are not transparent adapters, but the coloration in the bass and lower mids is minimal.

2.5mm to 4.4mm balanced

2.5mm balanced to 4.4mm balanced

2.5mm balanced to 3.5mm single ended


Taurus IEM Cable

$1800 HKD

*Please contact Astral Acoustics about these particular adapters,
as they are specifically made to order.

Taurus 2.5mm balanced to 3.5mm single ended.

Taurus 2.5mm Balanced to 4.4mm balanced.

Astral Acoustics Taurus IEM cable and Taurus 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter 
with FiiO X7 Mark 2 and Campfire Audio Andromeda.


The Astral Acoustic Taurus series of cables is not entirely typical of the sound one expects from a copper cable.
It doesn't have the slightly veiled sound one comes to expect from a copper cable, and exhibits a more detail, clarity and spaciousness.

Some might say its only wire and all cables sound the same, I doubt they have read this far.

The Taurus cable matches well to a brighter source imho. A neutral or warmer source loses some of the lower detail and overall clarity due to the extra low end..

It is not as transparent or clear across most frequencies as a silver cable might be. But some may love that depth to the low end.

Detail is fine, and it has a bit warmth in the lower end , and to some degree towards the mid sections.

Bass and vocals appear forward.
The layering is reticent.

The sound is more linear and flat, and less holographic.

With the adapters:
I detected a small amount of coloration in the bass and lower mids when paired with a silver cable.
They are adapters with a slight coloration to them. 
I also compared other companies adapters with the Taurus IEM cable and also with the ALO Audio Litz to confirm my findings.

The Taurus series of cables and adapters are for someone wanting perhaps to add a little something to the nether regions of the earphones, a touch it more intimacy, bass and mids.
I found the AA Taurus IEM cable when paired with a transparent adapter to match well for daps such as the iBasso DX200 and Opus#2.

They would pair well with a bright dap, or even a bass weak earphone, perhaps even increase the lower end on warm dap or earphone, If that be your fancy.

I found the Echobox Explorer X1 to be a good match with its Burr Brown Dac when using the Taurus series. The bass is faster and the sound is quite linear, detailed with excellent imaging and separation.  The Echobox Explorer X1 was very complementary and I hesitated a guess that the Opus#3 would exhibit similar results, which when listened to presented a lovely 3D-ish, dynamic and even experience with a decent full low end. 

The Astral Acoustics Taurus cable series is well constructed of excellent materials, like most cables its a question of matching the cable to right earphone and dap.
with the right pairing such as the Echobox Explorer X1 the taurus series certainly shines.

Astral Acoustics Taurus IEM cable and Taurus 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter 
with Echobox Explorer X1 and Campfire Audio Andromeda.

Thank you to Astral Acoustics for sending Head pie the Taurus Cables for review

iBasso IT01 review

I would have liked to have spent more time tip rolling and even cable swapping but the end of year is upon us!

Available from the iBasso website and also Penon Audio

(From the Penon Audio website)

`iBasso IT01 delivers precise and sweet sound in a compact form factor.

Its internal 5um graphene diaphragm, close to 1 Tesla magnet, dual cavity and other acoustic cutting-edge technology enable it to provide high-quality sound performance on the device.

Approaching 1 tesla

Special small high-energy magnets, near 1 Tesla's magnetic flux to 5um ultra-thin diaphragm has a greater driving energy and rebound characteristics, bringing more detail and dynamic performance than the normal dynamic driver.

Dual cavity 

Unique Helmholtz resonators, dual cavity bring deeper low frequency dive and flexibility, absorb high frequency standing wave, and make the sound more rounded, rich and plump in the low-frequency.

5um multilayer graphene diaphragm

Graphene is composed of carbon atoms, its hardness is 100 times that of steel, ordinary diaphragm needs multiple attenuation of the signal to ensure that the diaphragm itself is not broken, and graphene can better restore the current signal, the distortion is smaller . It is thin and sound conduction speed is very good.

4N high-purity oxygen-free copper, four shares hand-woven

iBasso IT01 uses 99.99% multicore star-shape four braids of high-purity copper wire, standard detachable MMCX interface .It can produce condensed and mellow low-frequency and structured high frequency, form a deep sense of space.`

Build and design

*Also available in black.

iBasso DX200 with Amp 1 and iBasso IT01.


Driver:10.0mm Dynamic driver
Multi layered graphene, which is Ultra-light and stiff. 
Frequency response:   10Hz-42kHz
Sensitivity:  108+/-2dB
Impedance:  16 Ohm 
Noise Attenuation: -26dB
Rated power:  10mW
T.H.D.:  <1% (at 1kHz/1mW)
Plug size: 3.5 TRS gold plated
Cable length:  1.2m   
Connection:  MMCX 
Weight: 8.0g without cable

iBasso DX200

Sound impressions

Out of the box impressions, and at 25 and 50 hours marks.

Using standard FLAC 16/44.

A variety of Daps was used for listening.

iBasso IT01 being tested with a headphone switcher box, ALO Audio connector cables, iBasso DX200, FiiO X7ii and Exchobox Explorer X1.

Initial and brief impressions:

Straight out of the box. take it with a grain of salt.

This is with dx200 and amp 5 which is a sweet sounding amp.

More treble a bit.
Forward vocals, medium bass, with a small to mid v shape.
Fairly good separation with JVC Spiral Tips.

Large bore tips (thin skin).
Stock tips have a better seal, for a more full sounding experience.
Less tinny, more coherent. The JVC were a bit core loose.

Small bore /thinner skin tips.
Nice and airy. 
Less v shaped.

Thick skinned small bore now.
More rounded, bass and treble more well matched, mids coming up,
Vocals are still forward, but so is some music.

The tips they come in the box with are these. So I guess they are recommended.

*I preferred the large bore tips overall and continued to use them.


Same with Opus#2 A bit more of mids warm action though.

Thin skinned L bore tips.

Larger sound stage. A bit more low rumble.

At the 25 hours mark

FiiO X7ii, iBasso DX200 and Opus#2.

The iBasso IT01 is a clear and even, linear earphone.
It has good to great separation between the instruments.

The IT01 is pleasant, smooth and natural to my ears.
I prefer it on medium to 70% volume, as that is where their sweet spot of control lies.
Overall they have a fast response and are coherent.

The sub bass lingers nicely at times - such as when listening to Kruder and Dorfmeister.
The bass power can be surprising, as when transitioning from Norah Jones to the Smashing Pumpkins `Rocket`.
The vocals are presented well and have clarity and consistency. Forward at times.

There is a slight sibilance on the usual tracks such as anything by

The IT01 can lose a bit of overall control when the music gets too busy, although when playing Dire Straits `Sultans of swing` the IT01 is effortless, accurate and reproduces the track beautifully.

Listening to the Foo Fighters `Something from nothing` I detect that the sub bass and bass are fairly responsive and quick.

I would like to have a bit more body at times, but that could be tweaked with a bit of tip rolling.

With classic vanilla test track favorites Adele, Norah Jones, Sting, Dire Straits etc the presentation is accurate and clear, the imaging and timbre are great, the sound stage is medium to sub large, it veers from an even linear to a small v shape sound signature at times. Overall the control is very good.

Then veer to badly recorded busy tracks such as Discharge `A Hell on earth`. The IT01 handles it nicely, it of course doesnt improve on the original recording, but it certainly keeps it listenable.

Hole `Doll parts` is a nice medium as the track goes from soft and silky to guitar screeching, and the IT01 handles it well.

PJ Harvey `The Whores hustle and hustlers whore` goes from a sweet level of clarity and detail, with smooth vocals to a bit congested and lose some consistency when all the drums and guitars get going.

Gnarls Barkley `St.Elsewhere` has a nice bass thump, resounding brass and tinkling cymbals.

Mountains `Messages to bears` sounds simply divine, well balanced, smooth, rich and warm.

An interlude...

I did some listening with an ipod touch 6G and found that the weak amplifier didn`t really satisfy me with the IT01. The IT01 certainly enjoys a bit of extra power.
The bass was a bit weak, and the treble was emphasized too much.
It certainly has improved response, imaging and timbre when paired with a dedicated dap.

At the 50 hours mark.

FiiO X7ii, iBasso DX200, Opus#2 and Echobox Explorer X1.

Incredibly smooth sound scape.
Luscious and rich mids at times.
Sweet lingering sub bass, and a tighter thudding bass.
Coldplay seems devoid of any pesky sibilance.
As it often the case a few more hours tightens up the low end to appear faster and concise and the rough peaky edges treble edges get shaved off a bit.
Separation is still near top notch. great detailing, although don't expect a technical earphone.
Vocals are realistic and clear. One of the outstanding features and pleasure points of this earphone.
The over all control at various volumes has improved also, at the 50 hour mark, I still recommended to listen at not ear splitting levels.

I finish this section listening to Nirvana - Unplugged in New York. 'The man who sold the world'
Smooth, supple, and sweet.


US$99 from the iBasso website and US$109 from Penon Audio.


The IT01 is a pleasing earphone to listen to in the US$100 range.

It is mainly even and linear earphone with a hint of a v and/or L shape at times. Its not an earphone that has too much body to it. Just enough to please.

Most everyone loves a Dynamic Driver earphone as they play nicely with most daps.

Sound stage is medium+ and is pleasing, vocals are slightly forward and well controlled and smooth.
Clarity, detail and separation isn't of course as excellent as some of the TOTL earphones in the higher price brackets (as to be expected, but the IT01 is being reviewed according to its place in the market) but is more than satisfying to the ear.

Control can vary here and there, or perhaps my listening volume is too loud at times. I found overall coherency and control to be improved after 50 hours.

The iBasso IT01 favors a dedicated dap or a phone with a decent amount of amplifying and driving power. They certainly benefit with a great source.
Weaker powered sources will bring out the treble and can cause it to be thin.

The sound signature can be fiddled with quite easily by a simple act of tip rolling. Luckily the IT01 comes with a decent selection of decent tips to use. Play around until you get a good match with your dap and ears.

The listening fatigue is low and I could easily listen for a lengthy time.
The shells are quite small so a comfortable, fit is easy and they don`t require too deep an insertion.

The cable is very, very soft, supple and ergonomic.
The MMCX connectors are a bit tight. They revolve easy, but for removal I had to tug a bit.
Some might purchase the earphone for the cable alone I expect, iBasso certainly make great cables.

The iBasso IT01 is well priced entry level earphone that will please many with its smooth signature that although fairly linear overall with a good dap, it can have a slight bass emphasis which yields a small v shape or L shape to it.

like it. I think it is wonderful for $100. At the risk of rolling out the old review cliche of ‘great performance for the price’ - it will surely leave many purchasers of the IT01 quite satisfied.

The iBasso IT01 might be an all rounder that can please many a listener. When its good its very good.

Thank you to iBasso for sending Head pie the iBasso IT01 for review

Another fabulous year of audio gear has passed by, and yet again across the board improvements in build, sound quality and performance continue unabated.

Whether its at the TOTL high end, pricey or budget and reasonable we have the right recommendation for you.

Whether it be the snazziest multi driver BAs, or If its DD you are into or even a hybrid.
Head pie gives you the low down.

Daps, dacs and cables have rained down upon the heads of the fortunate budding and seasoned audiophiles in this or Lords year of 2017AD.

So many choices for the budget minded, and also for those with gold plated wallets.

Which to choose? Rest assured the Head pie Bias guide will guide your skeptical buyers hand towards the correct decision.

Headphones, earphones and earbuds galore! We cover them all in this years Head pie Holiday and end of year audio buyers guide.

And here we have it, without further adieu...the best of the best of the best of the best of .......2017!

.....2018 budget be like?......

Daps - virtually anything by a well known company thats been splattered all across Facebook in 2017. Choose your budget - If money is lacking offer oneself up for paid experiments at the local university, then make sure the dap has all the functions you need, and doesn't have any functions you may not use. Make sure If has enough driving power under the hood. Read as many reviews and impressions as you can find until your eyeballs melt.
Also pretty and smexy is a plus.

Dacs, dac/amps - Choose a price, then whether or not you want an internal battery. Check the various functions it has to offer. Once again, read the reviews, see If any have a particular signature. Also check how well they adapt to iOS and Android updates. Shop around, have some fun.

Multi driver IEMs/BAs earphone thingys - decide on a budget, sell a kidney, choose from one of the reliable companies then choose a sonic preference xXX, XxX, XXx, XXX, Xxx, xxX. Preferably match it with a dap with a low output impedance. Splash down some cash.

Hybrid - Mostly for fans of an energetic V sound. Jump, til you drop within your budget.

Earphones - DD. Fairly reliable across the board and less likely to disappoint. Explore budget, build and sound.

Headphones- yes.

Cables - Whether a believer or a science freak, aftermarket cables give most audiophiles a woody. Most well known brands are...well known. Budget, choose copper, silver or unobtanium for best results...or a mix of the three. Audio cable jewelry pron.

Earbuds - budget, choose your poison,
read some reviews, click purchase.

Tips - Probably the dark horse within this conversation, but don't underestimate the power of a good tip, just the tip. The sonics of an earphone can be greatly changed, for the better or worse. May the power of tips be with you, ...always.

‘And now for something completely different..’

...But seriously folks...

Most of all first decide your budget, then wait and save a little more.

Read reviews, contrasting reviews from different reviewers you love and love to hate. Gather as much information as you can about the audio gear you are shopping for.

Take your time.

Sometimes companies or vendors have sales, either for A stock, or B stock items with a slight blemish.
Shop around.
Even the used market can yield some bargains, but of course its always good to try before you buy where possible, both used and new items.

Some say start with a decent pair of earphones or headphones and work your way up from there to a decent dap, others recommend the opposite way.

There are so many options on the market now and it can be confusing. Take your time, gather a decent budget so you will be making one good purchase, instead of several regrettable purchases.

There are many great devices at reasonable prices especially in the earphone and dap market now days. In the sub $200 market the sonic quality has improved to what the $500 market was five years ago. one can gather a quite decent complete rig without breaking the bank.

Its a good time to be enjoying audio gear for all wallet sizes.

and have a 

If you want to see what products Head pie awarded awards to to in 2017:

Kind regards, expatinjapan.

These aren`t the buyers guide recommendations you are looking for....

Head pie Bias Guide. TM. 2017  #headpiesucks